Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is as successful an entrepreneur as an actor. The actor considers himself a pioneer in innovative movie marketing that has set trends aplenty in the over Rs.12,640 crore (approximately $2 billion) Indian film industry and steered his projects to hit status. But on the other hand he does not agree that marketing skills are an “intrinsic” part of an actor’s life!
“As far as marketing of films is concerned, I will 100% claim that I started doing it in this country, especially of the level that’s prevalent today. Whether it was way back then of my movies Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Yes Boss, Ra One or Happy New Year,” says Shah Rukh Khan.
SRK, who owns a film production company ‘Red Chillies Entertainment’, with his wife Gauri, continued saying that, “I’m genuinely a pioneer as far as marketing films is concerned. (But) Marketing myself, NO. I don’t think actors need to market themselves.”
Mentioning the example of Hollywood’s Batman star Christian Bale, he further added, “I don’t think it’s an intrinsic part of being an actor. You take a Christian Bale…he doesn’t market himself. He is Christian Bale, and he’s fantastic. And as a matter of fact, he’s a very reclusive person. I don’t think that’s a prerequisite for an actor.”
Shah Rukh’s clutter-breaking strategies have been at the core of marketing films like ‘My Name Is Khan’ for which actress Kajol and he rang the opening bell of the US Nasdaq stock market; ‘Ra One’ for which the Badshah had a 10-month campaign with tie-ups worth Rs.52 crore with over 30 brands; ‘Chennai Express’ for which a game and a karaoke app were launched; and ‘Happy New Year’ to promote which the film’s cast went on Slam! The Tour and performed across cities in Britain and the US.
SRK’s first pitch for his film ‘Fan’, slated to release on April 15 next year, emerged in July this year. The walls of the actor’s Mumbai bungalow were painted with messages, and it was only later revealed that the graffiti was indeed a unique promotional stunt for the Maneesh Sharma directorial.
And for his recently released ‘Dilwale’, directed by Rohit Shetty, the 50-year-old Padmi Shri awardee planned a straight 20-day campaign — an ‘experiment’ that he feels has turned out to be ‘good’.
Despite of all this, Still, the actor doesn’t take full credit for the marketing of his films.”I don’t think I’m an expert in marketing… It’s unfortunate that a lot of the credit for my films comes to me. They say, ‘It’s a Shah Rukh Khan hit’. It’s not! It’s a hit of 200 people who have worked on the film. I get the benefits because I’m the poster boy. For years, I’ve sat down with some very smart and intelligent young people who come up with out-of-the-box ideas. I’m in a position and I’m not trying to be modest here to use those ideas and have the resources to build up on them. But I’m not the birth-giver to those ideas,” Shah Rukh said.
The King of Bollywood romance, SRK, also does not feel ‘complimented’ when people call him a ‘businessman or marketing genius’. He says, “It’s not a compliment to me, it’s a compliment to the people I work with. And since I’m just the face of it, it’s awkward for me to accept that.”